IDS Research

Improving Detection, Prevention and Treatment of Infectious Diseases

For Infectious Disease Sciences (IDS) researchers combatting infections in immunocompromised people is a central focus, since these individuals are disproportionately affected by infectious disease. IDS physicians and scientists leverage laboratory, clinical and computational methods to advance our understanding of epidemiology and host-pathogen interactions, and to develop new tools for diagnosing, preventing, treating, and curing infections. 

IDS Key Areas of Research

Our physicians and scientists apply their extensive experience in immunocompetent and immunocompromised populations to study the epidemiology of infectious diseases, investigate emerging infectious diseases, develop novel diagnostic methods and perform clinical trials for new treatments for major infections. Specific areas of research include:

  • Coronavirus (COVID-19)
  • Antimicrobial stewardship
  • Immunotherapy for cancer-associated infections
  • Mathematical modeling of viral infections
  • Cures for viral disease
  • Herpesviruses (HSV, HHV-6, HHV-8)
  • Respiratory viruses
  • Host-pathogen interactions
  • Microbiome studies
  • Infection control and prevention

Conducting Key COVID-19 Research

IDS researchers are playing a key role in the development of new COVID-19 prevention and treatment strategies. Our researchers are heading up several population-based studies as well as leading the way in clinical response to the virus.

Detecting, Preventing and Treating Infections in Immunocompromised and Immunocompetent Patients
image of cytomegalovirus

Prevention & Treatment of Viral Infections

Dr. Michael Boeckh works on detection, prevention, treatment, and identifying biomarkers for disease severity of herpesviruses (primarily cytomegalovirus and human herpesvirus-6) and respiratory viruses in transplant recipients and patients with sepsis.

image of viruses that afflict vulnerble patients

Improving Care of Vulnerable Patients

Dr. Jim Boonyaratanakornkit studies viruses that afflict vulnerable patients and uses highly sensitive techniques to identify protective immune responses against viruses.

technician working in Joshua Hill lab

Infections in Immunocompromised Populations

Dr. Joshua Hill studies the epidemiology of infections in immunocompromised populations, with a focus on improving preventative and treatment strategies for infections (primarily human herpesvirus-6 and other viral infections).

image of genome structure

Designing Viral Diagnostic Assays

Dr. Keith Jerome, as the Director of the University of Washington Virology Laboratory, leads design and implementation of molecular testing assays for a full range of human viruses.

bottles representing microbials

Improving Patient Outcomes Through Appropriate Use of Antimicrobials

Dr. Catherine Liu is working to optimize the use of antimicrobials and infectious disease diagnostics to improve quality, safety and clinical outcomes and prevent the emergence and spread of antimicrobial resistant pathogens among immunocompromised patients. 

drug resistant pathogens

Preventing Infections in Susceptible Populations

Dr. Steven Pergam is working to prevent infections in immunocompromised populations (including developing new infection control strategies and educational programs), investigating risk factors for healthcare and community-acquired infections, and understanding the risks of drug resistance and healthcare-associated infections in these patient populations.

bacteria growing in a petri dish

Understanding Bacterial Infections in Cancer Patients

Dr. Warren Phipps is focused on the identification of bacterial causes of infection and optimal use of antimicrobials among cancer patients in sub-Saharan Africa.

depiction of mathematical modeling

Fighting Infectious Disease with Mathematical Modeling

Dr. Joshua Schiffer uses mathematical models to generate novel hypotheses and address clinically important questions about viral infections in immunocompromised and immunocompetent patients.

image of the respiratory system

Treatment and Prevention of Respiratory Infections

Dr. Alpana Waghmare works on the treatment and prevention of infectious diseases, (primarily respiratory infections including human rhinovirus), and on the identification of viral and host factors as potential disease severity biomarkers.

image of Seattle Cancer Care Alliance clinical trials lounge for patients

Strategies for Controlling Viral Infections

Dr. Anna Wald conducts clinical research on the natural history of viral infections and designs clinical trials of antiviral therapeutics and vaccines for viral pathogens.

Tissue-Based Immunity and Host-Pathogen Interactions
image of tissue with herpes virus infection

Viral Immunology and Tissue-Based Immunity

Dr. Larry Corey is investigating how tissue resident cells in the genital tract contribute to host containment of herpes simplex virus (HSV)-2, with the goal of developing therapies that control HSV-2 reactivation and reduce transmission. 

Modeling Immune Control of Viral Infections

Dr. Joshua Schiffer uses mathematical models to inform the design and implementation of clinical and laboratory experiments about tissue-resident T cells and their role in controlling viral infections.

micrscopic image of aspergillus organisms

Epidemiology of Chronic Viral Infections

Dr. Anna Wald studies the epidemiology and natural history of chronic viral infections in immunocompetent and immunocompromised hosts. 

graphic depicting HSV-2

Human Immune Response to HSV-2

Dr. Jia Zhu is investigating the human immune response to HSV-2 reactivation, including immune correlates of disease outcome, tissue-resident memory T-cell function and regulation, and mechanisms driving peripheral nerve regeneration. She is also developing a skin-on-chip microfluidic device for modeling HSV infection.

Understanding Microbial Communities in Health and Disease
image of gut bacteria associated with gvhd

Understanding Microbial Communities in Health and Disease

Dr. David Fredricks is identifying specific microbial communities associated with disease states including graft-vs.-host disease and bacterial vaginosis.

electron microscopi image of bacteria

Genetic Tools to Uncover How Bacteria Behave

Dr. Christopher Johnston designs new genetic engineering approaches to uncover how bacteria (with a focus on human microbiota) behave during infection, contribute to diseases such as cancer, and acquire antibiotic resistance.

microscopi image of genital herpes

The Role of the Microbiome in Sexually Transmitted Infections

Dr. Anna Wald conducts studies to address the interaction between sexually transmitted infections and the microbiome.

Fighting Viruses through Gene Therapy and Immunotherapy
image depicting viruses that afflict vulnerable patients

Improving Care of Vulnerable Patients

Dr. Jim Boonyaratanakornkit studies viruses that afflict vulnerable patients and uses highly sensitive techniques to identify protective immune responses against viruses.

graphic of HIV cell

Using T Cells to Eradicate HIV

Dr. Larry Corey is using adoptive transfer of genetically engineered T cells to traffic to and be effectors in lymphoid follicles with a goal to eradicate HIV infections.

graphic depicting CAR-T cell therapy

Infections and Immunity Following CAR-T Cell Therapy

Dr. Joshua Hill is studying infectious complications of CAR-T cell immunotherapies, the effects of CAR-T cell therapy on immunity to infections, and vaccine responsiveness after CAR-T cell therapy.

research technician pipetting in the lab

Targeting Persistent Viruses Through Gene Therapy

Dr. Keith Jerome is investigating the use of gene editing enzymes and other gene therapy approaches to target persistent viral infections including HIV, hepatitis B virus, and HSV.

microscopic image of blood cells

Developing Gene Therapy Approaches to Treat Diseases

Dr. Hans-Peter Kiem conducts cell and gene therapy with a focus on the biology of blood and marrow stem cells and the development of novel gene therapy and genome editing technologies for applications relevant to genetic, infectious, and malignant diseases.

mathematical modeling of HIV

Mathematical Modeling to Design HIV Experiments

Dr. Josh Schiffer is using mathematical models to develop new hypotheses and inform the design and implementation of clinical and laboratory experiments in the field of HIV cure.

Improving Treatment and Care Worldwide
image of lab bench equipment

Enhancing Cancer Diagnostics & Care in Uganda

Dr. Manoj Menon is enhancing cancer diagnostics in Uganda and improving the care of patients with cancer in resource-limited regions.

microscopic image of sarcoma

Investigating HIV-Associated Malignancies

Dr. Warren Phipps is investigating HIV-Associated malignancies, including HHV-8 virology and the pathogenesis of Kaposi sarcoma (KS), among the most common HIV-associated malignancies worldwide. 

Efforts that Strengthen Our Research and Clinical Care

cancer patient talking with her doctor

Optimizing Antibiotic Use

The Antimicrobial Stewardship Program is working to improve clinical outcomes and prevent the emergence and spread of antimicrobial resistant pathogens among cancer patients and transplant recipients by optimizing antibiotic use.

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Microbiome conference attendees discussing a poster presentation

The Microbiome & Disease

The Microbiome Research Initiative links Fred Hutch investigators across every division who share a common interest in microbiome research, capitalizing on recent advances in the field and catalyzing nascent research that impacts cancer and infectious diseases. 

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Working to Eradicate HIV

DefeatHIV is a consortium of investigators in academic and private research institutions working together to eradicate HIV. We are leveraging the knowledge, expertise and resources of the consortium to generate a realistic and promising pathway toward the ultimate goal of an HIV cure.

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